13 January 2009 - A queer boycott by queer activists
A group of gay activists in San Francisco is demanding that a local filmmaker boycott the Tel Aviv International Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender Film Festival in June because of Israeli "apartheid."
They've sent a letter to Shamim Sarif asking her to withdraw. My favorite bit:
LGBT Palestinians living in the Occupied Territories, like straight Palestinians, are denied their basic human rights. This brutal occupation perpetuates war crimes on a daily basis, especially in the two-year siege of Gaza where 1.5 million Palestinians have experienced almost a complete blockage of fuel, electric power, food and medicine. Simultaneously Palestinians living within the pre-1967 borders or the “green line,” including LGBT Palestinians, continue to experience systematic discrimination and segregation, without the rights of true citizenship simply because they are not Jewish.
Note how this does not address the actual abuses suffered by LGBT Palestinians at the hands of Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. As James Kirchik noted in 2006:
Take just one story—in the May 2003 issue of Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide by Charity Crouse (who is described in the story as a “Jewish lesbian anti-occupation activist”). Tarek, a young Palestinian gay man suspected of homosexuality, was sentenced to a “reeducation” camp run by Muslim clerics under Palestinian Authority jurisdiction. He said that for a period of two months he was “subjected to beatings with belts, clubs, and was forced to sit on bottles which were inserted into my rectum. I was hanged by the hands, I was deprived of sleep, and when I finally did sleep, my limbs were tied to the floor.”
The San Francisco activists of QUIT! ("Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism") treat LGBT Palestinians just like other Palestinians: there must be gay people in Gaza, people are suffering in Gaza, therefore LGBT Palestinians must be suffering just like other people, the logic goes.
But LGBT Palestinians suffer in very different ways from other Palestinians--in peacetime, not just in war. And needless to say, there is no LGBT Film Festival in Gaza City.